If you’re a college quarterback entering the 2013 NFL Draft, this is not your year. For fans of the quarterback position, this is possibly the worst NFL draft in recent memory. No superstars. No compelling stories. If anything, this current crop of NFL quarterback wannabe’s are finding themselves struggling to find a job like many of their fellow college graduates. The casual NFL observer might think it strange that only three quarterbacks have been selected in the first three rounds of this year’s draft, but there are some legitimate reasons why this has happened.
The 2012 NFL QB Draft Class Was Stellar
At this time in the 2012 draft, seven quarterbacks had already been selected. The top two picks in the draft were quarterbacks. Even more impressive than their draft position was how well these quarterbacks did in their rookie seasons. Three of them (Andrew Luck in Indianapolis, Robert Griffin III in Washington, and Russell Wilson in Seattle) took their teams to the playoffs. Ryan Tannehill has solidified his spot as the starter in Miami. Brandon Weedon, despite an up-and-down campaign last season, is still the (for now) established starter in Cleveland. Nick Foles, after performing better than expected in relief in Philadelphia, will reportedly get a chance to compete for the starting job in 2013. Only Brock Osweiler, selected by Denver, failed to start a game. Then again, he had some old guy named Peyton Manning in front of him.
With the success that all of these rookie quarterbacks had for their teams last year, there are far fewer NFL organizations that are looking for franchise quarterbacks this season. Teams also won’t draft a rookie to be their primary backup. Therefore, the vast majority of these quarterbacks coming out this year are going to be competing for those scout team and third string positions. Those jobs can easily be filled by a late-round selection or by an undrafted free agent. In all honesty, this is just a bad year to be job hunting for a quarterback position in the NFL.
Face It, This Quarterback Class Is Just Not That Good
The real reason, however, why there’s been only three quarterbacks selected so far in the 2013 draft is that there’s just not much talent at the position this year. There’s not a single quarterback in this 2013 draft class that has the potential to step right in for a team and start from the first day of training camp in the manner that Luck, Griffin III, and Wilson did a year ago. Some might argue that Geno Smith is the one player capable of doing just that but the Jets have one of the most convoluted quarterback depth charts in the NFL. With four other quarterbacks currently on the Jets roster, Smith could either be the starter the first day of training camp or he could be forced to share reps with the likes of Mark Sanchez and David Garrard (don’t even speak to me of Tim Tebow).
Outside of Smith, the rest of the quarterback class is a collection of relative unknowns to anyone not completely obsessed with college football. E.J. Manuel, the first quarterback actually selected (16th overall pick to the Buffalo Bills), has the highest potential but he’s still very unpolished. He could either be a solid starter or be out of the league in a few years (think Cam Newton without the ego). Mike Glennon, taken by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 73rd overall, has all the markings of a career backup. I can’t see where any of the quarterbacks yet to be drafted could be anything other than a backup for any team.
Mike Mayock of the NFL Network stated several times tonight that the NFL is finally starting to value quarterbacks appropriately (meaning that most quarterbacks are drafted much higher than they should be). That’s a true assessment as far as this current quarterback draft class. However, I think that’s more due to the recognition that this is one of the poorest talent pools for quarterbacks that there’s been for some time.